Are you keen to taste a love drug?
We’re not talking about a pharmaceutical, Spanish Fly or ground rhinoceros horn.
We’re talking about the natural stuff – aphrodisiac food. Or, as Newcastle Museum puts it, “aphrodisiac appetisers”.
These appetisers will be on the menu at an event for hearts and minds on Thursday night dubbed “Saucy Science for Vivacious Valentines”. It’s for the “loved up and lonely”.
Museum director Julie Baird said this would include “your standard oysters and chocolate-dipped strawberries”, along with some lesser known tasty love treats.
“We’ve researched different aphrodisiacs. We’ve got wine-poached spice pears with cherries and blue cheese. Every single one of those is an aphrodisiac,” Julie said.
“Weirdly, the best aphrodisiac for men is celery. No guy I know wants to eat celery.”
Hang on a sec. Our wife calls us “celery boy” because we eat so much of the stuff.
Anyhow, Julie confirmed that the museum staff had done a taste test.
“We had a little tasting party and we ate all these aphrodisiacs to see which ones were the best. We checked on Monday whether it worked,” she joked. [It does].
The event will also include museum scientist Catherine King experimenting with “the human pain threshold” and revealing all about “the wild sex lives of insects with spiky penises and exploding genitals”.
“We got in touch with Dr Marguerite Johnson because we know she’s a world expert on ancient Greek and Roman sex,” Julie said.
Dr Johnson, a University of Newcastle professor, will speak about sex in ancient times and “perspectives on love and romance”.
In her book, Sexuality in Greek and Roman Society and Literature, Dr Johnson wrote that the ancient Greeks considered eros [the Greek god of erotic love] to be a primal force, which “permeated all life and experience in the cosmos”.
They found the topics of love and lust “suitable for discussion and inquiry” in epic tales, poetry and philosophical discourse.
Which brings us back to aphrodisiacs because the Greek goddess of love, beauty and fertility is none other than Aphrodite.
Tickets are available at newcastlemuseum.com.au.
Charlton MP Pat Conroy is chairing a federal inquiry into cane toads.
The inquiry, which begins on Wednesday, will examine the effectiveness of control measures to limit the spread of cane toads across Australia.
Cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in June 1935 in a bid to control the native grey-backed cane beetle, which was destroying sugar cane.
The cane toads didn’t stop the beetles, but they have depleted Australian wildlife. They’ve now spread to the north coast of NSW and the north-west coast of WA.
“They have spread outside main population centres by hitch-hiking in vehicles,” Pat said.
A few have turned up in the Hunter over the years.
As for Pat, he’s well qualified to look at ways to combat cane toads.
Last year he starred for the Cockroaches, scoring a try in the Parliamentary State of Origin touch football match against the Cane Toads in Canberra.
On the day, the NSW side defeated the Queenslanders 9-4.
Pat blamed Pauline Hanson for “very sluggish defence on the Queensland left wing”.